A recent outbreak of salmonella in cantaloupes across 32 states has caused 45 hospitalizations, 99 reported illnesses and two deaths as of Nov. 24, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Canada recalled Malichita brand cantaloupes on Nov. 1, Trufresh recalled Malichita brand cantaloupes on Nov. 8 and expanded the recall on Nov. 11 to include over a dozen more products.
On Nov. 17, the CDC and the FDA launched an investigation into a Salmonella Sundsvall outbreak. At that point, infections had been reported in 15 states. Aldi has recalled whole cantaloupes, cantaloupe chunks and pineapple spears between Oct. 27 and Oct. 31 due to potential salmonella contamination.
Current cantaloupe recalls
Here are the cantaloupes that have been recalled so far:
- Whole cantaloupes with “Malichita” or “Rudy” stickers numbered “450.”
- Vinyard brand pre-cut cantaloupe products including cantaloupe cubes, melon medleys and fruit medleys sold in Oklahoma stores between Oct. 30 and Nov. 10.
- Aldi whole cantaloupes and packaged cantaloupe chunks and pineapple spears with best-by dates between Oct. 27 and Oct. 31. Stores with recalls are in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan and Wisconsin.
- Freshness Guaranteed and Racetrack brand pre-cut cantaloupes, including cantaloupe chunks, seasonal blends, melon mixes and fruit mixes with best-by dates between Nov. 7 and Nov. 12. Stores with recalls are in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
What is salmonella?
Salmonella is a bacterial disease in the intestinal tract. It’s generally caused by consuming raw meat, eggs or unpasteurized milk, per the Mayo Clinic. It can take anywhere between six hours and six days to start feeling sick after contracting salmonella, and many people believe they are sick with the stomach flu.
What are symptoms of salmonella?
Symptoms can last from several days to a week and include:
- Most common: diarrhea, stomach cramps and fever.
- Other symptoms: nausea, vomiting, chills and headache.
- Most serious: diarrhea and a fever over 102, diarrhea for over three days, bloody stool, prolonged vomiting, dehydration, per the CDC.
How did the cantaloupes become infected with salmonella?
Though salmonella is usually contracted post-harvest, “the bacterium can enter the plant earlier from contaminated soil. Salmonella can reach the soil from manure containing animal feces or contaminated irrigation water,” Food Safety Network explained.
Canada’s public health department recommends anyone who bought a Malichita or Rudy brand cantaloupe to sanitize all areas and items it touched with hot soapy water.
Dr. Marc Siegel, a clinical professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center, described this outbreak as a “further wake-up call that produce grown in a place where the U.S. has little to no control can be packaged and sold in many states, endangering many people.”